The angel of the Lord appears to Gideon but he doesn’t recognise him. His first response is to argue. He offers his people’s oppression by the Midianites as evidence that the Lord is clearly not with him. Then he states that he is clearly not mighty. In fact he sees himself as the weakest son in the weakest clan in his tribe. When the angel of the Lord persists and reassures Gideon that He will be with him, Gideon is still not yet able to believe him and he asks the angel to give him a sign. Gideon wants proof.
What is really interesting about Gideon’s response to the angel of the Lord, is the procedure he goes through. First he argues back expecting his rebuttal to be the end of it. When that fails twice, he turns to religious ritual and asks the angel to hang on while he gets an offering together. It seems clear that Gideon fully expected that his offering would be ineffectual and thus prove the angel of the Lord to be false.
Judges 6:11-18 NLT
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
Surely we are all like Gideon. As a society, we seem to have so little expectation of the spiritual in our lives today. The media would have us believe only in what we can prove to be true. Those things we can can see and touch, observe and measure. I think it’s time to increase the non believing public’s expectations of the spiritual. My goal therefore, is to increase my own spiritual expectations and in so doing, carry the Holy Spirit out among the people so that they might see it for themselves.
Judges 6:1-40, Luke 22:54-23:12, Psalms 95:1-96:13, Proverbs 14:5-6